Cacti, DPW team up to improve C Quad barracks

| January 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, spent the week before Christmas getting their house in order for the new year.

They teamed up with workers from U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Directorate of Public Works to fix up Buildings 356 and 358 at C Quad, here.

Both buildings serve as housing for the Cacti Soldiers. The three-story-tall structures contain 150 rooms each and have occupancy rates of about 90 percent.

The C Quad buildings are historic, built in the early 20th century. They are on the National Register of Historic Places, but while they are considered landmarks and national treasures, like many older buildings, they were in need of maintenance.

“These are things that are important to a Soldier’s quality of life,” 2-35th Inf. Regt. Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Disque said of living conditions at the barracks. “When leaders walked through these rooms, they could see that the Soldiers weren’t calling in work orders because DPW, understandably, does not have enough staff to fix these lower-level work orders timely. So, the Soldiers had stopped putting in the orders. They stopped believing in the system.”

But they did not give up. Instead, the Cacti troops worked toward a solution, and in doing, so they learned valuable lessons about initiative and teamwork.

“Our purpose was twofold,” Disque said. “One, to give our Soldiers a sense of ownership, and two, to show them that DPW is on our side. Working together with DPW really did send a powerful message.”

Kevin Rost, DPW facility manager, said that the enthusiasm the Soldiers showed as they undertook the work lifted the spirits of the DPW workers.

“It was gratifying for DPW employees to see how the importance of their job makes a difference in the Soldiers’ lives,” Rost said. “With as limited personnel as DPW has, we strive to provide the best support for the Soldiers.”

The Soldiers painted the walls, changed light bulbs and fluorescent lights, and they made other aesthetic improvements, while DPW employees and those Soldiers who received specialized training from DPW took care of higher-level electrical and plumbing improvements.

“There are a whole lot of talented Soldiers in the 2-35th and the 25th ID,” Rost said. “The initiative and pride the Soldiers exhibited was great to witness, and I feel that pride will transfer into their daily lives.”

USAG-HI Logo

The Directorate of Public Works is part of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. 

While the actual work was completed in one week, the planning and logistics took longer. The Cacti leaders and DPW began coordinating with each other in August to make sure they would have enough time, manpower and supplies. They went through the facilities, identifying lights, doorbells, toilet flushers, light ballasts, towel holders, exit signs and fire alarms that needed to be repaired or replaced.

Ahead of the week designated for repairs, about 40 Cacti Soldiers attended DPW’s Military Maintenance Technician (MMT) training program, which taught them basic construction skills and qualified them to make routine fixes to the barracks without calling in a DPW work order.

Staff Sgt. Brian Hughes of the 2-35th Inf. Regt., who helped to coordinate the effort between the unit and DPW, added, “In just one afternoon, they took care of at least 10 work orders. And now we have these (MMT), trained individuals who can make these fixes in the future.

“I can’t help but look at it as a success,” he said. “It shows that as long as we work as a team, we can get things done.”

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